The Lions’ gees despite constant disappointment is admirable, and they will continue to show constant improvement during the Vodacom URC season, writes MARK KEOHANE.
The Joburgers face a tough clash against Irish giants Ulster in Belfast on Friday night, but writing for TimesLIVE, Keohane believes the underestimated Lions excel with their backs to the wall.
He suggests that after ending a three-match winless run in the URC at Scarlets last week, The Pride could capitalise on four consecutive games back home in the Republic, especially at altitude.
“They are a team that plays with such heart that I find myself just wanting them to succeed,” Keohane writes. “Invariably they tend to fall short but the signs are there that the Lions can only get better.
“They are a team that did well overseas last season and this season they could so easily have had three successive overseas wins.
“There is something that screams gees about the Lions, and there is also something about how they play that makes them a difficult side to beat.”
He underscores the Highveld outfit’s inner strength and unpredictability, while acknowledging the likes of talented playmaker Sanele Nohamba as crucial for Ivan van Rooyen’s men.
The Lions’ focus, Keohane argues, isn’t on producing Springboks but on becoming “a league threat and a playoff contender” in the URC. He also highlights the impact that youngster Henco van Wyk and veteran Willem Alberts can have on the team’s success.
“It would be a surprise if they got a result against Ulster … [but] they are mentally a strong bunch and they thrive on being written off,” he writes.
“They also have players with the potential to be internationals, but the essence of this team is not about becoming Springboks.”
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